How to best treat acne scars
Acne can leave scars on the face and other areas. For some people, they are an unwanted reminder of a painful and bothersome condition. However, home remedies and medical treatments can help get rid of them.
Options for managing acne and reducing the appearance of scars include natural, over-the-counter, and prescription remedies.
Options will depend on the type and extent of scarring and include:
- chemical peels, such as salicylic acid
- retinoids and other creams
- laser treatment, microneedling, light therapy, and various other procedures
- surgery, in some cases
In this article, learn about various ways to help reduce the appearance of acne scars and promote healthy skin.
Types of acne scar
Suitable treatment options may vary slightly depending on the type of scarring that acne has caused. There are three main types
These scars appear as small indentations in the skin.
- Icepick scars are small scars that look like pinpricks.
- Boxcar scars are larger indentations with clear edges.
- Rolling scars have unclear edges and give the skin a rolling or undulating appearance.
They occur when the skin does not make enough fibroblasts in the healing process. Fibroblasts are cells that play a crucial role in wound healing and collagen production.
These occur when the skin makes too many fibroblasts as the acne spot heals, causing a raised scar.
These are similar to hypertrophic scars but tend to be thicker than the original acne spot. There is often hyperpigmentation, making them darker than the surrounding skin. They may be red or brown. There may also be itching or pain.
Various over-the-counter remedies can help reduce the appearance of acne scars. Products containing the following ingredients may be useful.
However, over-the-counter creams and lotions are unlikely to fully remove or flatten a raised scar.
Salicylic acid is a naturally occurring compound that is often an ingredient in acne skin care products. Salicylic acid peels help clear dirt, skin cells, and other debris that leads to acne from the pores of the skin.
It also helps reduce swelling and redness in the area, which may minimize the appearance of scarring.
Salicylic acid can help treat all scar types.
However, people with sensitive skin should do a patch test on a small area of skin before using it on their entire face, as it may cause dryness or irritation.
Example: Kleerzit Facial Cleanser | 150ml
Kleerzit Facial Cleanser contains a mild Salicylic Acid base in a non-irritant foam base, ideally suited for exfoliation and the deep cleansing of blocked skin-pores.
Some topical retinoids may help get rid of acne scars. Topical retinoids block inflammation, reduce acne lesions, and speed up cell regeneration.
The retinoids could help lighten hyperpigmented acne scars, including those in people with darker skin tones.
It is important to note that retinoids can make the skin sensitive to the sun. Anyone using retinoids for acne or scar treatment should wear sunscreen when going outdoors.
Alpha hydroxy acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can help increase the rate at which skin renews its cells. Some doctors recommend AHAs for treating acne and reducing the appearance of acne scars.
AHAs are a mild form of acid that scrapes away the outer layer of skin to reveal fresh, new skin underneath. This process may help reduce hyperpigmentation due to scarring.
However, swelling, burning, and itching may occur at high concentrations. It is best to speak with a doctor before trying AHAs. They can help identify the best strength to use.
Lactic acid is a type of AHA. It can act as a gentle peel to pull away dead skin cells. It may help reduce the appearance of scars and smooth the skin.
Lactic acid may also help lighten dark scar tissue, although it can cause hyperpigmentation, too. It is best to test products that contain lactic acid on a small patch of skin before using them to treat acne scarring.
Many products for acne contain lactic acid. It is also present in diluted apple cider vinegar, which makes for a more natural, cost-effective treatment.
Experts do not know how these work, but they appear to help reduce the appearance and size of acne scars. They may do this by providing hydration. They can also reduce itching and pain and increase the flexibility of the skin.
A person will have to use the dressings all the time, which can be difficult on the face. Most people do not experience side effects, though some have itching and irritation.
How can I prevent acne scars?
It is not always possible to prevent acne or scarring, but people with acne can take measures to reduce the risk.
These include seeking treatment while acne is present and avoiding picking, popping, or touching acne, which may lead to infections and a higher chance of scarring.
How can I remove acne scars and discoloration?
Depending on the type and extent of scarring, there are various ways to remove or reduce acne scars. Fillers, for example, can help indented or atrophic acne scars. Laser treatment may reduce hyperpigmentation and flatten raised scars.
A dermatologist can help decide on a suitable option, depending on the person’s skin type and the extent and type of scarring.
Can treatment remove scars permanently?
Treatment can often help remove scars, but scars also tend to fade with time. How effective treatment will be will depend partly on the type and extent of scarring and the person’s skin type.
Treatment can be costly and time-consuming, and it is worth thinking carefully and talking with a dermatologist about what to expect.
Acne scars can be an unwanted reminder of acne and may reduce self-esteem in some people. However, treatment can often reduce their appearance.
Many people have success using one or more home remedies. In cases of stubborn scarring, receiving medical treatments in the dermatologist’s office can also help remove acne scars.
Always work with a qualified dermatologist when seeking help for acne scars, as some treatments can have adverse effects if used incorrectly.
For more, please find our Acne BlogBack to Skin Type or Concern